Chatham University

Fire Alarms and General Evacuation Guidelines

The alarm system will be used to indicate a life-threatening situation (such as a fire, bomb threat, or explosion), which requires evacuation from the hall. Residents should know and follow the emergency evacuation procedures for the residence hall. Evacuation drills are held in each residence hall once per term to familiarize residents with proper evacuation procedures and to test safety equipment and will not be advertised in advance. Residents and staff members should follow established emergency procedures to ensure a quick and orderly building evacuation.

All residents hearing an alarm should immediately:

  1. Touch the room door before opening.
  2. If the door is hot, do not exit. Phone for help, seal off the room by stuffing door cracks and vents, test (but do not break) the window, hang a sheet from the window to alert rescue personnel, and breathe through a cloth or towel to reduce smoke inhalation.
  3. If the door is cool, put on a coat and shoes, close the window, breathe through a towel or cloth to reduce smoke inhalation, close and lock the room door, and leave immediately. Remember—take your room keys with you.
  4. Move quickly but calmly to the stairwells and exit the building. Know the alternate exits in advance in case the primary route is obstructed. Never use elevators during an alarm.
  5. Assemble with other residents and staff outside and away from the building at the building’s designated evacuation location. The location is listed on the emergency guide inside each building, or by asking your building staff.
  6. Await instructions from emergency personnel; do not reenter the building or leave the area until cleared to do so. Remember that Public Safety, City Fire or other emergency personnel are in charge once they arrive on the scene.
  7. Residents who do not leave the building when an alarm has been sounded are subject to fines and/or disciplinary actions.